A Kansas City firm planning to transform the world with its artificial intelligence tech recently landed in a highly-esteemed startup accelerator in Silicon Valley.
Mycroft announced Wednesday that it’s in the latest cohort of 500 Startups, a global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator that manages $200 million in assets and has invested in more than 1,300 tech firms. The program invests $150,000 in exchange for six percent equity in the firm. 500 Startups’ portfolio includes many success stories, including Twilio, Credit Karma, Sendgrid and many others.
Mycroft CEO Joshua Montgomery said he’s thrilled that the company was accepted into the program, which he said will help accelerate its growth.
“It is validation that Mycroft is on a steep upward trajectory,” he said of Mycroft entering 500 Startups. “Being selected from thousands of applicants is a validation of our traction, team and approach to solving a huge problem. The experienced investors at 500 Startups believe that Mycroft is a fantastic opportunity. It is a fantastic endorsement.”
Mycroft — which in October opened its Kansas City headquarters and opened a Silicon Valley office — developed an open-source, artificial intelligence device to challenge Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri.
Montgomery said that accelerator opportunity will further entrench his firm in the Valley’s innovation-rich culture and make valuable connections.
“500 Startups has deep roots in Silicon Valley and their team of professionals are experts in growth, fundraising and enterprise sales,” he said “With their help, we’ll grow faster, have access to more financial resources and build relationships with Fortune 500 companies like General Motors.”
A 2016 Sprint Accelerator grad, Mycroft raised $335,000 in September shortly before snagging a $50,000 LaunchKC grant. The firm has leveraged the funds into growth, as Montgomery said that revenue from its software service is growing 20 percent per month.
In addition to revenue growth, Mycroft recently was featured by the Free Software Foundation as a high priority project. Montgomery said that feature has helped drive developers into its community, which now numbers more than 600 developers from all over the world.
A device that’s as big as a conventional alarm clock, Mycroft taps natural language processing technology to enable its everyday use in a consumer’s home. Natural language processing incorporates computer science, artificial intelligence and computational linguistics to understand human language as it is spoken. Similar to Apple’s Siri, a Mycroft device learns and adapts to a user’s voice and accounts for imprecisions in speech.
Once a user connects her Mycroft to the Internet, she can verbally command the device to do a variety of tasks, such as turn on lights, lock doors, make coffee or engage other Internet of Things technology. If a user has a question — such as what’s the forecast in Kansas City today? — Mycroft translates the speech and sends it to at least two artificial intelligence platforms and scours the internet for the best answer.
Mycroft recently was named a Startland Top Startup to Watch in 2017.